Hardbacks, personalized paperbacks, and distribution to bookstores, why wouldn't you want to publish with IngramSpark?

Jesper and Autumn cover what IngramSpark is, the many, many options it offers, and, of course, the cons of why this platform might not be for you.

Plus, a discussion on if IngramSpark is an alternative to KDP - can you choose one or the other, or should you be using both?

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Read the full transcript below.

(Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).

Narrator (2s): You're listening to the amwritingfantasy podcast in today's publishing landscape, you can reach fans all over the world. Query letters are a thing of the past. You don't even need a literary agent. There is nothing standing in the way of making a living from writing join to best selling authors who have self published more than 20 books between them. Now onto the show with your hosts. Autumn Birt and Jesper Schmidt.

Jesper (30s): Hello. I am, Jesper. This is episode 67 of the amwritingfantasy podcast. And, uh, well autumn you brought up this very interesting topic to talk about today, asking whether or not it's worth it to publish through IngramSpark so I'm looking very much forward to your thoughts on this.

Autumn (52s): I had to reread it. It, it's a fun logic puzzle that I got so excited about and then kind of had a reality shock. But we'll get to that in a bit for now. Yeah, we'll get back to that. But, so how are things over in Denmark? It's am. I know we're recording this a few weeks before it gets published. And you know, the world's going a little crazy right now, so I hear you guys have, school's canceled so your kids are home and it's just crazy, it sounds like.

Yeah, it's a, it's like a Corona virus in everything right now. So, uh, yeah, yeah. As you say, we are recording a bit in advance here, so who knows once this episode goes out, if, if things has calmed down on that.

Jesper (1m 41s): But honestly, I, I have a feeling that we're on the start of things rather than at the end of things, but let's see. But yeah, indeed, schools are close, so the kids are home, they'd dare being taught remotely. Um, so this, the teachers are uploading assignments for them every day. So they do that and then they call the teachers and stuff like that.

Autumn (2m 2s): So, yeah. And I don't have any matches to referee either because everything has been canceled. So yeah, it's, it's, uh, it's pretty much locked down mode. I would say it's probably safer for, you know, everyone, especially those who are truly high risk. It's best to slow the spread of this thing. But yeah, absolutely. And yeah, I was feeling really bad for the beer company. Creates the Corona. It's so weird.

I mean, people don't want to buy Corona piece. I don't understand. I understand that one either. ASCO has nothing to do with the beer. I'm not crazy about Corona beer, but it makes me want to go buy one just because it has nothing to do with the fear.

Jesper (2m 47s): That was so weird. But uh, yeah, that was a slightly to whatever. But guess what? I guess what I could say though is because of all this Corona stuff, then I don't have to, you know, bring the kids to school. We don't have to go to soccer practice and all those things. So I've had a bit more time on my hand. So that's resulted in a few things actually.

Autumn (3m 8s): Uh, we got the first of all, the plotting of our next series of the first book done. Yes, we do. It's, so, that's pretty cool. That is really cool. We've made some good use of our extra time for sure. Yeah, indeed. And the also, I'm pretty much a ready to start recording the self publishing publishing success course in, in the next few weeks. That's fantastic. You're ahead of me.

I've got to catch up and finish my, get my world-building modules recorded and everything else. But yeah, I don't think either of us will have run out of anything to do, whether we're quarantined for a week or a year. I think we could volunteer for a Mars mission and we would still be working by the time we got there and back.

Jesper (3m 59s): Yeah. The, the problem with us is that every time we finish something, we think of three more things to add to the end of the list. So it's like a never ending grind.

Autumn (4m 7s): We were always fighting a Hydra and finishing off ahead and getting three more in response.

Jesper (4m 13s): Yeah. But it's okay. It's okay. Yeah. And then by the way, it's, will I, I'm halfway through the script for the cost on using email lists as wetland goodness. So I hope. Yeah, I'm trying to get that one finished. And then once I'm done with the script for that, uh, then I can send you

Autumn (4m 30s): that to you and then I can start recording the self publishing success course instead. That is amazing. You're blazing ahead. I try to hear tastic well, I had some drive time and am some take care of some business times, so I've definitely not, and plus I was building the cabin so I always feel like I'm so far behind. But uh, the cabin building goes on quarantine or no, because, well, it's the house I'm living in, so like I did. But yeah, we snuck off to Maine to pick up our rooftop tents and a few other odds and ends that we had left behind up here for the winter.

And now the, our land cruiser is outfitted that if we wanted to escape to the far North and hide out in the Tundra, we'd be all set. But we just plan on going back to Vermont and hopefully, uh, riding out the rest of the coronavirus there and hoping that the world doesn't get too crazy or reminds me daily of what I was researching my post-apocalyptic story. I'm friends with my enemies that series. And it had a two major pandemics, uh, that led up to the first book.

And so I did a lot of pandemic research and a lot of virus research and, um, yeah, it's watching this play out is like, Holy crap, this is a, this is too real. It's very strange. Yeah. It's, uh, well it's, we, we don't know how to deal with this stuff.

Jesper (5m 60s): Right. I mean, that's, I think that's, that's part of the lipid hope. Hopefully. Hopefully it won't be too bad. I hope. Let's see. Um, but wasn't there something when you're supposed to go to some convention or something as well? Yes. Well, actually I was supposed to be going this weekend that we just went through. I was supposed to go to a paddlers rendezvous. My husband and I are both am, canoers and kayakers.

Autumn (6m 22s): We've done a lot of, uh, paddling on our journeys and traveling and actually he just picked up 105 year old canvas and wooden frame canoe. It's a classic. It's gorgeous. It needs to be fixed up. Of course everything we pick up needs to be fixed. That's just our life. Everything we own is a project that, uh, it's, uh, what's supposed to have this rendezvous and that was canceled and actually that's why we've come up to get the rooftop tent. We were going to camp there, but we decided to come up anyway and get our supplies.

But yeah, as Vermont am they're supposed to be a scifi and fantasy expo at the end of April, which is really close to when this will be released. And at the moment it's still scheduled to go, but I don't know, the CDC just recommended, you know, no gatherings larger than 50 people and they're supposed to be 3000 and 5,000. Yeah, I think they're going to end up having to cancel it. And honestly, at this point, if I could, uh, get a refund, I'd probably just cancel it myself. But you know, here's the hope of the world is much happier and healthier on April 25th otherwise, yeah, there was the one where I sent you some paper back books.

For wasn't it? It was. I think we're going to have to hold onto them until it's rescheduled. There will be another fantasy expo to take them to. Yeah, I guess so. Oh, we week on the internet with the amwritingfantasy podcast. So I actually wanted to highlight a post that you shared on petrol on a autumn. Oh really? Hopefully it's not the same one I was going to talk about. I don't know. They shouldn't let you go first. We are professional podcasters.

Here's a, we are very well coordinated and we know what the other one is going to say once we approved. Oh, was it two episodes ago when I actually mentally figured out the next bullet on your lists. So I think that was more coincidental than anything else. No, it was the one about foreshadowing. Oh no, that isn't the one I was going to mention. So what were you going to say about foreshadowing? No, it w it was more like, you know, you went through in detail how to use foreshadowing correctly in that post.

And uh, I just thought it was, uh, it was very valuable to, to share detailed posts like that we try on for people on the email list.

Jesper (8m 44s): We also try to send them some, some detailed advice on this and that sometimes it's marketing, sometimes it's, it's writing. But I really liked these posted you do on, on, on the writing style stuff, on petrol on it. I think they're really good.

Autumn (8m 59s): Q I should have so much fun and sometimes I really have to cut myself off because they get a little long. So, um, I do like to know that they're appreciated by the students and by my part writing partners, so that's awesome. Yeah, I think they're great. Well, which one were you going to mention? Done? Oh, I loved am. Zaid had mentioned it's am I'm on this, this tips, it's a long story about how I have this sheet of 10 to plotting tips that I'm going over and I'm, one of the ones that, that you mentioned was foreshadowing.

And the other one that I just did a little while ago was plots of individual characters. And so Zaden I got into a conversation and I just love that he came back with am. He gave me an update. He said just wanted to update and say that I've now written a really cool sequence that starts with the character telling the main character. He can clean up his own mess and walk away from the quest. Uh, it's created some really cool character moments for several of the questers and given an opportunity to really show the extent of the main character's flaws. Huge. Thanks for posting this.

And it's like, damn, that's awesome. So I'm so happy to know I helped to add to someone else's book and create this like pivotal scene that's gonna shred the main character. And I just excited and I'm glad I got to help someone. So it's been a fun sequence of a tips to post, even if it came out of a long ago class that was completely useless. I have finally resurrected. I'll point to this class. Yeah,

Jesper (10m 30s): it's funny sometimes. Uh, you find some, I also found some, some older notes in, in, in my cabinet. The, uh, I think it was yesterday something I thrown into it and I never thought I was going to use again. But then it was like, Hey, I think I have a use for this now. It's quite fun, but the hoarding is not a good thing though. I guess after I'm done with these 10 tips, I will burn them down. So, so that's, uh, you know, I know that every content creator always keeps saying that they rely on the support from places like Patrion.

Uh, but that, that's actually because it's true. Yeah. Podcast is a free medium and that's cool. You know, I like it that way. I love listening to podcasts myself and because they have free, that makes it really, really accessible. Um, yet at the same time, especially, I guess we know that modern than the listeners because we spent the time creating these episodes every weekend. It does, it does take up a lot of time. Um, and that is also cool because, you know, we, we choose to do that.

So that's okay. And we like helping people and we enjoy sharing so, so that's all good. But, um, I do want to say for those who already are supporting us on Petra on a, you know, huge thank you for it really does make a difference. Um, and for those who are not yet supporting us and listening, if you want to support with just as little as a dollar a month and please do understand that it actually is something that we really appreciate. Uh, so check that link in the show notes, uh, and at least take a look at the reward that we're offering to support us that, you know, it makes us so happy.

Autumn (12m 18s): It does. And it really does make a difference. I mean, we pay for the hosting, we pay for websites if it goes really far to making this actually stay up and running. So publishing with IngramSpark, I tried to pull some notes together as well.

Jesper (12m 40s): A autumn of stuff, but, but I, but I think it's, well probably you know, in full transparency we are not currently publishing our stuff with IngramSpark so I think this is more like a conversation about maybe the pros and cons or what to think about. So I guess the listener can more use it as inspiration for, I dunno, their own decision making process I guess.

Autumn (13m 3s): Yes, absolutely. We're on the outside looking in and that's sort of how the question came up. And author I was working with that helped format their book and do some cover work for them. Said they actually got a rejection to have, uh, a book signing event at a local bookstore because they weren't published with Ingram sparks. And that led to this huge research of why, why is an Amazon good enough? What's the big deal about Ingram sparks? And I got so excited about Ingram sparks.

I'm in love with what you can do there. However, I'm still not published on IngramSpark and we'll get to why before we get to the end of this episode.

Jesper (13m 43s): Yeah. In India we have already discussed, uh, at some point in the past at a four hour joint fiction books that we want to go to IngramSpark. So, uh, uh, but I think it's going to be interesting to just have a conversation about it and what does it mean then because it's not S yeah. Also the research side. It's not as easy as it may seem, but maybe we should stop by what is IngramSpark that's just what I was thinking.

Autumn (14m 8s): So some people are not going to even have heard of this because it's not as well known as like Amazon, but Ingram sparks would you say it's like, it's definitely a distributor, but basically it's sorta like a distributor. Yeah, it's, it's like a, an online self publishing company. Basically. It is, it is, is, um, it's just different. It's, it is a direct competitor to Amazon, which creates some conflict of course. But it has a few things about it that are the reason that, you know, bookstore is like it better as a distributor then, you know, getting paperbacks through Amazon and it offers, you know, it does offer very similar things to publishing on Amazon.

You can eBooks, you can get paperback books, but what's really cool is you can get hard back books. So this is the only platform out there right now. Whereas an indie author, you can get a print on demand hardback. So if that doesn't make you tingle because you want to see your books hardbacks that might be enough to make you want to go and check this out.

Jesper (15m 13s): So yeah, that's so cool. Yeah, and they, they distribute globally of course. Uh, and uh, I, I co during my research here earlier today, I saw that the, their global distribution network is actually one of the largest in the world. Um, it serves more than 29,000 book retailers worldwide. And, uh, that includes physical bookstores I should set, but also libraries. Um, so using IngramSpark is actually what can get your book into physical bookstores and libraries.

Where are the self publishing platforms actually has no access. Correct. Um, so that, that's pretty cool. It am and of course a IngramSpark and also publish to all the regular online places. Like I think even the distribute to Amazon as well. Uh, and you can get into all the other regular stores as, as, as you might want to. Um, but honestly I would not go through IngramSpark for that. Uh, I usually personally at least I usually go direct to Kobo, direct to Amazon, direct to Google.

And then I just use draft two digital to reach all the other online stores. That's pretty easy that way. So, but at least IngramSpark to basically help you reach the bookstores, uh, and also get that hot copy available on Amazon because it syncs up on Amazon as well. So if people are browsing for your books on Amazon and they click on the title once, you know, once they get into the, basically where the book description as well, that that's usually where Amazon didn't shows you the different formats. And if you have an IngramSpark hot copy, it will appear there.

Just like if you have an audio book appears in a paper back appears and so it's just, it just becomes one of the formats on the uh, on the Amazon platform. And I think that that is, that is the key thing there because if it didn't then I would say it's probably pointless but because it syncs up like that then it's, that's pretty damn cool.

Autumn (17m 15s): It is really cool. And I mean there are some tips, I mean you could go Ingram sparks and not do Amazon and have it pushed to Amazon through Ingram, but they do say that Amazon will, not purposefully supposedly, but they will see that it's coming from an Alto side distributor and they could have a really long ship date. They could list your book is out of stock for your paper. So they do say that if you're going to do Ingram, you should also sort of like what you're saying, do Amazon as well.

It should be a hybrid system of both because otherwise the way it's listed in Amazon is not, it doesn't look quite as true, but that's because of they say Amazon. It's like saying, well, you know, they don't know the distribution. Occasionally Ingram sparks gets overwhelmed and they have slow shipments and you know, they say some things like that. Yeah, well I don't think it's like,

Jesper (18m 13s): I don't think it's like a, let's say a conscious decision because it's a competitor that Amazon does like that. But honestly I think it's just because Amazon cares a lot about the user experience and the customer experience. And I think that they just take on purpose a pessimistic view on delivery times because they don't want to disappoint people. Like, uh, okay. It says I should be getting in two days. And then they order it and then once basically, so, okay, let me start a bit different. So let's say, let's say you go on and you want to buy the hard copy.

So normally the way I researched it at at least says that what can happen then is that when you click on the hot pack, it'll say out-of-stock like just said autumn. And that's because it comes from IngramSpark. So Amazon has no idea how long it's gonna take. But then as I researched the least, as soon as you then buy it and in hard copy, then you get the confirmation email and then it syncs up with IngramSpark and then you usually getting a pretty, you know, pretty good delivery date on it.

But it's just the initial overview that Amazon gives you the extra, they're trying to be pessimistic on purpose to set your expectations. Well and then over-perform right. So I, I honestly don't think it's because Amazon wants to make you.

Autumn (19m 32s): No, I don't think so. I think that's the case. But it does. It's something authors should know. And that's why a lot of people do. If they're going to go IngramSpark cause they also go as a hybrid. But I do, unless you have something else, I want to get his share. Like why I got so excited about IngramSpark and why it's useful. The biggest things. So this question had come in from someone who wanted to do a book signing and the bookstore was said, yes, we would love to, you know, it was someone from the state. The book was doing well, so they were the local author. They were like, this is great, but you need to put your book at Ingram sparks.

We don't order from Amazon. And so I had to do some investigative research on why it was an interesting, you know, why this dynamic. And so what I found out is that for an individual buyer paying full price for something on Amazon, the paperbacks are returnable for 30 days. But something like Barnes and Nobles, uh, this was a Barnes and Nobles, I was willing to do the signing. They're looking for a wholesale cost that is also returnable. Yeah. And so just like, you know what we've been discussing publishing with income SPARTS but so that's why they want to do it.

They can go and get a wholesale cost order, a whole bunch of books, and if they're not sold during your event, they can send them back. So you know, that sounds on the surface really a good deal. But there's some really interesting side effects of this that you have to be careful of because it turns out there's all of these returned fees that if you don't have your profile set up, you can see this big chunk, like one month you get a spic chunk where people, you know your book, wherever you're gonna go do your book signing by as a whole bunch of your books and then the next month or returning them and suddenly your account's going into the negative that comes back on you and your royalties.

And that's something you gotta be careful of if you do sign up with Ingram sparks, is that you check, you know, the return policy you set up. And depending on what return policy is set up is whether or not bookstores are going to go and wholesale your book.

Jesper (21m 42s): Yeah. But do you decide or you decide that yourself, the return policy, don't you?

Autumn (21m 46s): You do. You there's like, you know, there's standard ones you choose from and yeah, so there's like a choice of three or four, but you do have to make sure it's not something you should just push through. There's actually a very good reason about why you should choose one versus the other. And to really think about the cost because there is some restocking fees and other fees that can come out. So keep that in mind if you do sign up for it.

Jesper (22m 13s): I think it's just part of the game when you're dealing with bookstores, you know that that's how they operate. Uh, so yeah, it's just, it's something you have to accept in this case. Right. But, but on the other hand, I think you could also argue that for the average indie author isn't that much of a problem. I mean, if they, if they sent back five copies, yeah, okay, fine. I mean, if you're really an indie author who's selling like $4 million of books a year and then, okay, you can properly handle it anyway.

Right? But for for the rest of us human beings, you know, if, if we get five books returned about a month, I mean, okay, fine, or even 50 or whatever. But then it's also because you have to sales. So you should be able to cover, I mean, unless you run out and spent all the money, all the royalties right away, you can just transfer it back. Some of the royalties.

Autumn (23m 6s): I would hope so. And I would hope if you have another book signing, you know, it'll all come out in the wash, the people ordering them for the next event and the other ones, you know, returning them and that could work out. And I did truly coached the one author I was working with and I'm like, just check instead of going through the expense and we'll get to that about what Ingram sparks costs instead of going through the expense and you know, getting everything published over there. Why don't you see if you could, you can be your own wholesaler. You order them from Amazon, you let them buy them from you or buy only the ones that people sell and you know, promise to take back all the ones that they don't sell.

You know, ask. It doesn't hurt. So if you have a local bookstore, there's no reason you couldn't at least approach them saying, Hey look, I know Amazon doesn't do this, but what if I do it for you? Because obviously as an author you're probably going to go to another event and you're going to want some paperbacks of your own. You know, if you can work out to be your own distributor as you go to some of these events, you might be able to get into a few places that only would let you get in otherwise if you didn't grow up in sparks. Okay.

Jesper (24m 12s): Yeah, there was one thing that I'm curious about to be honest and because since this is a print on demand service, which means that the, they only print the books when they are ordered and then then they shipped them out. So, but because of the return policy, I'm quite curious what happens then. So when somebody returns the books is, since it's print on demand, they don't really have any stock

Autumn (24m 35s): or something like that. But that's one of the choices. There's one of the choices. The cheapest is basically to have them destroy it. And I think that it only costs you a $3 fee. Um, wasting the rainforest for nothing. Yes. There's other ones where you do say, no, no, you, you must keep that in the next time I am. Someone wants to buy it, you pull it. But that costs you a lot more money as a return. I think it's like $10 a book versus a $3 for destroy it now book.

So those are the, yeah, if you're agreeing conscience, this is a tough

Jesper (25m 10s): am. So that's what I, I've, I take the environmental stuff quite serious.

Autumn (25m 18s): We all should. Yeah, that's, that's one of the tough ones. And I will say though, there are some neat things that you can do with their print services. They actually have a personalization that they do with their print on demand. And I think this is so kind of cool. So if you had someone like when a giveaway and you wanted to actually print something in the book, you know, you'll be a print of your signature or a print of like, Oh, thank you so much for your support.

Jesper (25m 46s): If you're doing a, a truly personalized maybe to someone who was your mentor, you can actually have that printed in your book for only a dollar and just that one copy. Isn't that kinda cool though? That is, that is cool to be honest. So it's not quite as cool as hand touching it and maybe writing it. But if with this, you know, sending around the world and everything else, it's kind of cool to print it in there.

Autumn (26m 10s): A big personal thank you to someone. She was getting a book.

Jesper (26m 16s): Yeah, that, that is pretty cool and that's a dollar is pretty, that's just cheap so that's fantastic. Yeah, because on Amazon, when you're sending somebody a gift to somebody, you can also add like a gift, a notice or you know, I, I don't know if it's a small card or whatever it is that they put with it or if it's just a a pizza, but it's not in the book. It's sort of an Iowa in the packets. Just a, there's like a slippage slippage in India or something with the text

Autumn (26m 44s): you wrote on it. That it, that is pretty neat as well. But it for sure, I mean printing it in the book, so like a hardback copy of your book bound with some thank you message to someone that's amazing for a dollar. It's only costing you an extra dollar on top of the regular printing fee. I just think that just, I want to do that so badly just to say thank you to someone. But yeah, so that is one of the really cool services they offer. And like you said, IngramSpark is also a whole book publishing thing.

So if you wanted to go whole hog Ingram sparks, they have editing, formatting book covers, they truly can do it all for you if you want to pay the fees of course. But it is all in one stop shop. So that's kind of, you know, if you're really feeling it out and wanting to do a very professional level, they do offer it all right there in one website and it's one that's been vetted, tried and true. So you know, you're getting a quality product at the end. So that's kind of a nice thing to know too. Yeah, absolutely.

And I also read somewhere that the, if you're dealing with colored printed books, um, like for example, my map making focus incredibly expensive to um, to, to print with Amazon.

Jesper (27m 59s): That's also why to pay for the paper bag colored book is so high. It's because the printed cost I insane. Yes. I, I read somewhere at, at the colored print books are actually cheaper in the actual, on the cost side if you do it with IngramSpark compared to Amazon that I hadn't seen, but I would believe it because I think they're better set up for it where there's less color books being printed through Amazon.

Autumn (28m 23s): And I also have heard the paper quality through Ingram sparks is much better. So you're going to get a thicker paper and that might be why they can handle the color. So I know a lot of people who are doing am like coffee table books, like paperbacks, you know the books you would see like hardback photo books. They're going through Ingram sparks. If they're not doing something that is specifically designed for photograph heavy jobs because it just doesn't work well with Amazon because you know, if people remember KTP in the coloring book phase, for craze that was going on, I remember some people were getting am KDP or CreateSpace coloring books and they would have something printed on both sides.

But you'd go to use your colored pencils or your marker and it would bleed through to the other side because those pages we're just not set up for such a media being used on. Um, no, I can see that, but, but at least for you know, the quality of the color in the KDP paperback books are absolutely fine. Oh, they have nothing to say about that.

Jesper (29m 21s): Absolutely fine. Um, but it's just more, the cost of the printing is so high. Did you have to set your sales price pretty high as well? Um, so if it's cheaper with the IngramSpark then I can certainly see some great uses for that as well. If you are having books with lots of pictures, our color images in them then that, that's amazing.

Autumn (29m 42s): Yeah, that would be, I never did double check that, but I do think I could see it being cheaper. So that makes sense. Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, there were some costs as well that I think we need to touch upon. Yes. And that's, that's sort of the issue I guess because it comes down to setting up your book where you know KTP, you go and you upload your ebook and it's free. You can do your paper bag if you know what you're doing, you basically uploaded and it's free what the cost comes out in your royalties.

With Ingram sparks, there's not only the royalties, but there is also a fee for setup, which is a bit weird. I don't quite understand why. Well they also say some of the fee is for hosting the file on their servers, which I guess there's a part of me who's like that is a cost. I mean server space. Think of Google with how big their servers are all over the world. Amazon infant, they don't chaps for it. No, don't give him any ideas.

You're listening to this. They are adult. Just busy. Yeah, don't listen to them. You know when I first saw the fee, um, I wasn't that a appalled. So it's $49 for ebook and paperback or if you just want to do one or the other, it's $49 for a paperback and $25 for just the ebook so you can, you know, $49 that is not a big deal. And when I saw that, I'm like darn it. That is it. I am doing Ingram sparks because I just think I want to be able to distribute my books.

I read everything I read said there's no, no reason not to do this. But then I found that cat just reading for the kicker, I've found the catch and the reason I am still sitting here and haven't touched Ingram sparks to publish with Ingram sparks, you need an ISBM. You need to come in holding an ISP again and you need a unique one for every format. So if you're doing you book paperback and hardback, that's free ISBNs.

That's, Oh it is. Yeah, but, but I guess you could just publish the ebook and a paperback with Amazon KDP and then just do the hotbed for IngramSpark and then use one ISP and couldn't you? You could. But then, I mean to me the really the beauty of IngramSpark is using it for the paperback distribution because then bookstores might pick it up. That's the only reason they're going to get it is through IngramSpark. So that's probably a hardback and a paperback. So you'd probably be doing too, right?

Yeah, that's true. So I mean, and I was looking at it so you can buy 10 ISBNs for tune $295 so that makes it 29 50 each, which is not that bad. So plus that, plus the $49 it's, you know, if you're doing all three formats, it's $137 50 cents each. Or if you're not going to do, if you're only gonna do two of them, it's $110 each. So you know, $110 a book, plus you lose, you know plus then you get your royalties bag.

But they're obviously taking a cut there every time something sold because they have the printing fees and Oh, I don't know what EBAC, I still wonder the electron fees with eBooks, but we won't go there. So 110 for yeah, it's not too bad. So if you were going to do use all 10 10 ISBNs, let's just say you're just going to do paperback. So 10 books with 10 ISBNs, that's $785 for 10 bucks. And that's what's getting me because you know me, I'm prolific and I haven't done this yet.

So if I were going to get my 14 fiction books and my two nonfiction books set up to do this, I would be paying about $1,760 if I was going to do two formats. Yeah, for sure. It does her until I was trying to rationalize, you know, like okay, what if I just did paper backs and that's like 70 want to do the hard copy. That's the whole point. Oh it is. You can just keep doing Katie for paper back at the end of the day.

The true and so, yeah, I mean to get it set up for, you know, a trilogy for two formats, it's $330 or I have am six books written in the same world. That would be 660 bucks. And if you don't want to do just one at a time, you just want to go and do it. So I just still waiting for everyone who in quarantine to go buy my books so I can go to afford to do this. But it does add up quite a lot.

And that's what I think is the kicker. I was so excited at that $49 I mean that's a lot, but it's not a lot. But then when you start picking up too bad ISBNs, I mean, yeah, I've always had a problem with the eye. You go back to, I believe it's episode 41 where we talked about ISBNs and yeah, it was episode 41. So go back there and check that one out. And you can have the whole conversation on ISP if you should be using free ones.

Um, we won't recover it here, but you and I are both like, eh, I'm ESPNs we use the free ones and now suddenly it's like, Oh, I have to go buy them for this. Oh, I don't, yeah, I'm just, I mean of, of course you have the problem if you're looking to am to publish with IngramSpark when you have a big back catalog, then you have a problem there, right?

Jesper (35m 20s): Yes. If you do it as you go one book at a time, then it's manageable for sure. I mean, if you buy the 10 ISBNs for two 95 to 195, I should say. Um, then of course 295 that might hurt for something, but it's not, it's not that bad, if you know what I mean.

Autumn (35m 41s): It's doable. Yeah. It's just be about less than your editing costs. I mean it's not outrageous. We just covered in editing costs. So a couple episodes ago. So yeah, this is, that is a reasonable price that you're going to spend on your books. Yeah. So it's certainly doable. Um, I also read somewhere that the actual uploading process is supposed to be a pain.

Jesper (36m 4s): I don't know if that's still the case or if that's like old information that it used to be a pain and it's not any more, but at least there's a few different places on the internet where people are explaining how it's, it's an, it's, it's a bit annoying because you know, when, when we come from KDP on Amazon normally it's so incredibly easy. Oh, it is. Um, it's a ticking few box, uploading your file, uploading a cover and setting a price and then you're pretty much good to go. You wait like less than 24 hours and then it's online.

It's amazing. But I don't know, at least I've not tried it in myself. I've said in the beginning, but at least what I got from the research, it sounds like it's, it's a bit cumbersome to go through the uploading and publishing process with the IngramSpark, but I'm not sure.

Autumn (36m 54s): Yeah, it wouldn't surprise me. I haven't done it myself, but it is an older website, so it's an older platform where Amazon's constantly renewing and tweaking and correcting their code. They don't think have the quite the same level of money going into, you know, updating their area and updating how they do things. So I think it's a little bit older and I honestly, I didn't research it because I mean I use vellum for all of my formatting and I don't know if they're binding standards of all of that is the same as KDP.

I know I've done a few covers that have been used on Ingram sparks and the requirements are similar, but they're not the same. So I wouldn't be surprised if something in the, in even just the uploading what's required. Obviously you'd need a PDF, a for if you're doing, I think it's an epoch for the ebook, but you need a PDF for the print version. And so if the binding sizes in the margins are a little different and it's not something I can tweak on vellum, that's going to be another hurdle for me to get through because I'm, I love vellum and that's how I'm doing it.

Because I can format my ebook and my paper back and everything all at once with just one shot. And that saves so much time.

Jesper (38m 5s): Yeah. And if there's anybody from IngramSpark listening to this podcast and uh, you guys, we are paying as you are the only distributor who takes money from us for the upload. So fix your upload plus if that is indeed a problem anymore, which I don't know this, fix it, that's your, you're chatting us for the upload.

Autumn (38m 26s): So it should be simple and easy. Hey, I'll even take it one step further. If there's anyone from Ingram sparks listening, uh, get in touch with us and we'll do an interview and we can talk about, you know, how this process works. And that would be really actually kind of fun. I'll host it before it comes with a warning that I will ask questions about why you haven't fixed it yet. I'm prepared to answer that question. All right. But to be fair, we'll have to upload a book and make sure it's as bad as they say. Just, you know, we'll have this, we're just going on here and say, now we're just going on a rent like a everybody else.

That's all right. But you have to say what they do. The fact that they do distribute that bookstore is, you know that they offer this return policy even though they shred books and please, please do so in an environmentally friendly, compostable manner.

Jesper (39m 15s): Um, yeah, I don't know what, I don't know what's worse, worse to the environment, to be honest, if it's stretched us reading the book or having big warehouses, I'm not quite sure what it is, to be honest. Honestly I don't know either. But if they're composting it, it's okay. That's returning it to the earth and that's fine. But if they're not okay, Oh, I got all the ink. I still know of it's biodegradable.

Autumn (39m 37s): There are good inks. I'm just hoping that we moved to, I'm thinking the binding, the chemicals, the printing comp. I don't, now that I'm thinking about this, I don't want to know how unhealthy it is to print a book. I might have to go back to on the eBooks just for which should never have started talking about wondering what my footprint is in the world and I'm thinking, okay.

Jesper (39m 59s): Yeah, it's horrible. There was, there was what, one other kink that I came across. I think this might be applicable, but uh, I'm curious what you think, but what if, if you have an ebook, let, let's say you have an ebook of it. You have it published via KDP and you have it enrolled in Kindle unlimited. Oh, I think that the hot back copy from IngramSpark would be breaking the exclusivity agreement with Amazon, wouldn't you think so?

Autumn (40m 31s): No, I do not. I think the KTP is only on the KDP select is only attributed to the electronic, the ebook because you're allowed like, but when creates space was its own company. You could still do a create safe space paperback, but be in KDP select with your ebook. I think the KDP select is only eBooks.

Jesper (40m 54s): Hmm. Okay. That was my understanding of this. I went from Amazon listening. Please let us know, but I'm pretty sure that this is worth checking. Yeah, for sure. Uh, I, I'm a bit, you might be right, but I'm, I'm just doubting a bit whether or not this is OK. Uh, but, uh, but maybe I'm wrong, but it at least something to think about. I would say. Yeah, I'm pretty sure, again, for an author question, somebody who was going to upload and format, we got into a discussion about paper backs and I'm pretty sure I looked it up and the paper, okay.

Autumn (41m 27s): There's still distributed Amazon distributes to your extended network, even if you're on KDP select am. And that was fine even when it was created space. So I'm pretty sure that that's they're separate entities still that the KDP select only applies to your ebook, but right. We can try to look it up and maybe am put it in the garbage. Some of the, some of the, maybe I listen to no. So actually, so they can, they can reply with a common and that'd be fantastic. Straight here. Yes. Someone else who is on top of these things and loves research, that'd be fantastic.

Yeah. Or if you have a horror story, please let us know.

Jesper (42m 4s): Yes. So I don't know ma. Maybe at least from my point of view, in conclusion, um, I think it is IngramSpark is absolutely great for hard cap hard-copy books and to get into bookstores and libraries. And what I would also say is that when you get to your book page on Amazon, for example, if you can be available in all the formats, so you have an ebook, you have a paper back, you have a hard copy and you have an audio book, if that's possible for you. I mean, of course I do know all of that comes with costs, but if it's possible and you have a professional creative cover and of course you have your book fully edited and all that, basically your book will be indistinguishable from something random house has published or something.

Right. It looks like a hundred percent professional publishing house has published to your book. To me as an indie author, that's what I want. Right? I don't want the reader to be able to tell any difference whatsoever.

Autumn (43m 2s): No, I think that's true and I think it does give you that really that high level of professional shine though for some reason when you were talking about, you know, making it professional and having it looks so perfect. Reminded me of one other thing that did kind of irritate me with Ingram sparks where you know with Amazon, Oh you find out there's a typo or you want to fix something, um, you need to update like some kind of book links because you've, you know, you have more versions on Amazon it's free, but for every time you do a new upload of a new version, there's a fee on IngramSpark.

So, Oh my God, I forgot about that one.

Jesper (43m 39s): Yeah. But yeah, I dunno. Again, the logic evades me here because, okay, if you're telling me that we are paying for the upload because it takes up some sort of virtual storage space and, and, okay, fine, let's say that then, but because I create, I update a typo and upload the same file it, that's not going to create more, I mean it's basically, there's no human involvement from IngramSpark is not going to take up more space in cyber space. You know? It's just like, Oh my God, that's just like, no, it's just a fee to have a the.

It's just, I don't like that.

Autumn (44m 14s): No. Okay. I agree. But there's still something about a level of professionalism, but maybe that's sort of the key is that if you're publishing through Ingram sparks, you're probably got a good platform. You're making enough money, you don't jump into these waters unless you know you can afford it and tackle it and handle it. And

Jesper (44m 32s): that's why you'd be doing it. Yup. So I think, uh, I think that's it though. This list, there was a lot of good stuff to think about here for four people. For I mean for certainly for those who never heard about IngramSpark, now you know what it is. Uh, but also for the more experienced people, uh, yeah. We've, we've done some research on your behalf here, so at least you can use what we've talked about here to figure out for yourself if, if IngramSpark is something you want to pursue or not.

Of course, if you have a big, big back catalog, yeah, maybe they just want to do it going forward. I don't know. But, uh, to think about that one.

Autumn (45m 12s): And Hey, if you're on IngramSpark, do you have any comments about why you love it or think you regret it? You know, put that in the comments too. We'd love to hear, right. So next Monday we are going to share how to prepare to write a new book. So that'll be a lot of fun.

Narrator (45m 33s): If you like what you just heard, there's a few things you can do to support the amwritingfantasy podcast. Please tell a fellow author about the show and visit us at Apple podcast and leave a rating and review. You can also join autumn and Yesper on patrion.com/amwritingfantasy for as little as a dollar a month. You'll get awesome rewards and keep the amwritingfantasy podcast going. Stay safe out there and see you next time.

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